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LEGENDS AND TRUTH

Oy Lu-lu-lu, staryj Srulu.

Dam ti greytzer na tsybulu,

A yak pidesh na robotu,

To verneshsia, azh v suboyu

 

Oh, lu-lu-lu, poor Sruul,

I am giving you greitzer to buy onion

You will go to work

And return just on Saturday.

The old Boryslavian kolomyjka-lullaby.

The beginning

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Map of the Town of Boryslav from book "Lost Boryslav" by Meilech Schiff.

click on the map to magnify

The town of is located at 49.17 longitude and 23.25 latitude. Borislav is 75km from Lvov and 9km from Drogobych. The present town population is  about 40,000.
The villages Mrazhnitsia, Boryslav, Hubychi, Tustanovychi created later the town of Boryslav.

The population of Boryslav started growing in the XIX century when the crude oil was found. Both oil and natural gas were discovered in the Karpathian Valley,  Boryslav,  by the first explorers in the mid-1800s. Oil in Boryslav was everywhere. It was easy to get it. Just dig a small well in your backyard and you can collect some crude oil and sell it. A lot of foreign businesses was attracted with Boryslav Oil. Very often they rented land from Boryslav peasants and pay them relatively small fee. This small fee was a big portion of the money for poor people. Stanislav Giza in his memoirs about Boryslav says that peasant started getting to be rich very quickly, and the did not know what to do with this money. One of them jus has heard about automobile, but it was unknown in Boryslav, so the peasant hired the homeless "baraba" from the "Baraba's Bridge", set in the garden carriage and ask him to drive to downtown.

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The Central Bridge has separated the North and South part of the town. The Bridge was known as a "Baraba's Bridge" and homeless people, the habitants of the under-bridge "apartments" was called "Barabas". Very often you could see barabas sleeping down on the walkway near bridge with a sign "Don't wake me up unless you give me a job or pay 5 greitzer".

Another peasant had a plenty of money. He went to Drohobych to talk to lawyer asking him to make an appointment to pope of Rome for good compensation. The  lawyer, seeing wealthy and foolish   person he is speaking to, set up the visit with some swindler in the town located still in the Austria territory.  "Theatrical Performance" impressed both parties, the peasant and swindler.  The peasant paid to  the"Pope" large amount of money, and the swindler was so happy that he gave  to the peasant the pope clothes. Legends about "easy money" was spread faraway from Boryslav. Many adventurers went to Boryslav seeking "black treasure".  "Zaglebie Naftowe" (oil hollow) was the name for Boryslav.

However the life of poor people and  workers in Boryslav was terrible. The famouse writer, poet an philosopher,  Ivan Franko who was born in Nahuyevychi (the village  to the West of the town) left wonderful description of the Boryslav. Poor people Russyns (Ukrainian), Poles and Jews did not have much choices to survive. They pray do God and leave the homeland.

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But the most interesting thing about this damned town is that so many people who left their Boryslav still love this town, dream to be back. Even the next generations who have heard about beautiful Boryslav from their parents wants to go there to see this town.

The earliest stories about Boryslav you could find in documents since XV and XVI century.  Of course that the oldest buildings were churches.  Beautiful churches, either roman-catholic or Greek-catholic, were ruined in the most cases or turned to stock-houses during the Soviet regime.

Mean time Karpathian Oklahoma turned to be a real "golden fever".

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Boryslav - Karpathian Oklahoma (XIX - XX cent.)

 

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Petroleum Company  "Pioneer" and "City Oil"

 

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Boryslav, Panska Street, the main street of the town. (Beginning of XX century).

The walkside usually was made from the wood. After 1919, when Poland tookover Boryslav, walkside Panska Street was furnished with stone walkside and renamed to Kosciuszko Street.

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View on the town from Horodishe Hill

 

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In 1905 Oil City Company drilled a petroleum bore-hole near Zelena (Green) Street. A huge fountain (30 m high) was fired because of lower fire protection. 3 months fire-men could not liquidate the fire.

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The new gymnasium has been built in 1911. Today it is a school No.3. Gymnasium was located near electrical power station (commonly called "Elektrovnya").

To be continued

Beside of Russyn (Ukrainian) and Polish Boryslav, there were very colorite and distinguished life of Boryslav Jewery. The earliest known Jewish community in this town was in the 18th century.  By 1939 the three major ethnical group represented a population of Boryslav - 30% of Ukrainians, 30% - Poles, 30%  -of Jews and 10% of different ethnical group like Checks, Hungarians, Austrian etc. The Jewish population was in 1931 was 12850.

Jewish Boryslav Gallery

 

Links about Boryslav and Galician History.

1. Boryslav Churches.

1.  MEMOIRS BY A GALICIAN UKRAINIAN